Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo refuse to appeal their sentences

The artists and opponents Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Maykel Castillo Pérez (Osorbo) refused to appeal their sentences, of five and nine years in prison, respectively, while the former reported that he would start a hunger strike.

According to a report from Eph, the news was confirmed this Thursday by dissident organizations and activists. If this announcement is carried out, Otero Alcántara —leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI)— will join his third hunger strike since he entered prison on July 11.

“His demand is simple, clear and is one, his immediate release and without conditions,” said the MSI on social networks, quoted by the source.

In that same sense, the activist Anamely Ramos pointed out that Osorbo, imprisoned since May 2021, “will no longer lend himself to that circus.”

The trial against both artists —considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International (AI)— took place on May 30 and 31 in the Court of the municipality of Marianao de La Habana. During those days a strong security operation was deployed around the court.

Otero Alcántara was punished for the crimes of outrage against the symbols of the country, contempt and public disorder, while Castillo Pérez was convicted of contempt, attack, public disorder and defamation of institutions and organizations, heroes and martyrs, according to the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic (FGR) on June 24.

The FGR then assured that the court considered it proven that Otero Alcántara had “the express intention, sustained over time, of offending the national flag, by publishing photos on social networks where he is used in denigrating acts.”

Still from the Patria y Vida video clip in which Maykel Osorbo appears (right) together with Funky and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.
Still from the Patria y Vida video clip in which Maykel Osorbo appears (right) together with Funky and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (behind).

The FGR alluded to the Drapeau performance, in which the MSI leader used the flag on his body for a month. In addition, it reasoned that Castillo Pérez – co-author of the musical theme “Patria y vida”, “used false images” to “outrage, affect the honor and dignity of the highest authorities of the country.”

He also stated that Osorbo “carried out direct interventions from his personal profile to dishonor the role that law enforcement officers perform in society.”

The cause was not linked to last year’s anti-government protests, but to events that occurred on April 4, 2021. That day, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, Osorbo had a run-in with some agents, apparently caused because his companion was not wearing a mask.

Castillo Pérez managed to get away, with some handcuffs on his wrist, and went to the house of Otero Alcántara, from where he shouted slogans against the Government, according to the account of the events of the FGR.

Cuba: the trial against Otero Alcántara and Maiykel Castillo reaches its second day

The Prosecutor’s Office also collected previous facts in its petitions, such as “offensive writings against the flag” on the networks and publication of “memes” on Facebook to “ridicule and discredit” the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

In addition to them, the Court sanctioned Juslid Justiz Lazo and Reina Sierra Duvergel with five years in prison for attacking opponents Félix Roque Delgado and three years of correctional work without internment. He considered it proven that all of them had helped Osorbo to resist his arrest.

The sentences are not final, so those sentenced can still file an appeal to either annul or reduce the sentences, the source recalls.


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